I will preface this by saying: (1) I’m not dying (yet, that I know of), and (2) I am not going off the grid (yet). This is the best title that I could come up with, and for archiving purposes, I need something descriptive.
I am invisible and unappreciated and undervalued and underestimated.
Here is an anecdote: when I worked at Company X, I was subject to misogyny, racism, anti-blackness, and generally poor office-company behavior. I tried to put my personal feelings aside regarding the way they treated people in service positions (because you can tell a lot about a person’s character by how they treat cleaning staff, ESPECIALLY if that staff speaks little English/whatever your dominant language is) and even overcompensate for their rudeness. They criticized a pregnant woman for not shaving her legs while going into labor. They gathered around to call a woman from our office a “bitch” when she was out sick. They made fun of black girls’ names. (I think they forgot that I was there? Or that I was black? Just because my name is what it is does not mean I’m not here for Sharquiesha.) A coworker would send passive-aggressive emails and intentionally embarrass me and make passive-aggressive comments when she had an audience. My comments were dismissed. My work was dismissed. I was routinely fought and refused necessary tools while trying to do my job. The plight of Palestinians was ridiculed. They would go on group lunches and leave me alone. I wasn’t allowed at meetings. They would huddle together, literally everyone except me–it was a small office, it was very noticeable, and whisper. Despite all of this, I was scolded for not showing initiative and trying to be a part of the team.
Apparently now Company X is in the shitters and that small office wants to know if I can come back. Ha.
I am pretty independent. If a group of people are standing around debating what to eat, and it’s taking too long, and they don’t listen to what I say, I have no problem walking away to get what food I want. Text me when you’ve made a decision, I’ll come find you. My hobbies include reading, and watching dramas, and being artsy-fartsy, none of which require a partner. I generally don’t put a lot of esteem in people’s compliments because actions speak louder than words. I also have trust issues and find promises and pretty words to be rather worthless coming from people who haven’t proven themselves to be about it.
Many of my friends don’t appreciate me. Many of my friends don’t even see me. I wonder, a lot, if I’m real, if I really exist, how you can complain about not having spoken to someone in a while when we just dished about our lives for two hours, less than ten minutes prior to you posting about it.
Do I not count?
In reality, I hate being part of a team. I hate group settings. I despise large groups of people. My words always fall on deaf ears and I get trashed for not speaking. I’m called a bitch for not making an effort to be friends, yet there you are, ignoring my invitations. I’m called ungrateful for not helping you plan, but every time I offered something you turn away. You say you want to do something, I suggest idea after idea after idea, you shut them all down and got the nerve to not put anything back in. I tell you that I’m uncomfortable with plan A, but you tell me, in this large group of people, “Nobody cares about your feelings.”
Do I not bleed? Do I not feel?
So when I get sick of being undervalued, unappreciated, ignored, and I step away, I stop coming around, you whine about how we never talk and I’m not there to listen to you cry for the 100,001th time about some boy, which is ridiculous because you didn’t even notice that I was ignoring you for disappearing when I needed you.
I honestly don’t mind being alone. I am okay by myself. I don’t ignore myself. I don’t not-listen to myself. I don’t walk away from myself, forgetting that I’m standing right there. I don’t fly across the country to see myself and sit on my phone the whole damn time and then try to guilt-trip myself over it. I don’t tell myself about how much I miss hanging out, only to cancel every time I put in the effort and still use pretty words to tell myself that I value myself. I don’t bullshit myself.
When I said that we were friends, I was under this illusion that we valued each other, not I pumped up your esteem and you ditch me because I won’t be hateful with you, not I validate all of your feelings while you ignore mine and then cry about emotional labor.
I’m not asking for anything in return–I shouldn’t have to. I’m reminding myself why.